What happens in our first meeting?
What are the benefits of Financial Planning?
Financial planning takes the guesswork out of managing your finances and helps you understand the implications of each financial decision you make. Everyone has different goals, so it’s important to have a unique plan that works for you and your financial situation, both now and in the future.
The average American faces an uncertain economy and more options for saving and investing than ever before. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed or confused, unless you find a way to understand the big picture. A financial plan can bring clarity to all your finances and help you develop a strategy, so it’s easier to make financial decisions, set long- and short-term life goals, and stay on track.
Having a financial plan can secure your financial well-being and give you peace of mind. Some people decide to do their own financial planning, but you may want to seek help from a qualified professional if you:
- Want to better manage your finances, but aren’t sure where to start
- Don’t have time to do your own financial planning
- Want a professional opinion about the plan you’ve developed
- Don’t have sufficient expertise in certain areas such as investments, insurance, taxes or retirement planning
- Have an immediate need or unexpected life event
What can I expect during the financial planning process?
In six steps, you and your Advisor will:
- Agree on how to work together – Your Advisor will explain the services she’ll provide and define each of your responsibilities. Along with compensation, you’ll discuss how long the professional relationship will last and how you and she will make decisions.
- Gather information about your finances and set goals – You and your Advisor will talk about your current financial situation and gather any necessary documents. Together, you’ll define your personal and financial goals, including time frames. You will also discuss your comfort level when it comes to taking financial risks.
- Analyze and strategize – Your Advisor will take all your finances into account and determine how best to meet your goals. Her analysis may cover your assets, liabilities and cash flow, current insurance coverage, risk management, retirement, investments, tax, and estate planning strategies.
- Develop recommendations – Next, your Advisor will go over her financial recommendations, explaining the rationale so you can make informed decisions. She will address your questions and concerns and revise the recommendations if necessary.
- Put the plan into motion – You and your Advisor will need to agree on how the recommendations will be carried out. Your Advisor may carry out the recommendations herself or serve as your coach, coordinating the process with you and other professionals, like attorneys or stockbrokers.
- Monitor progress and stay on track – As you work towards your goals, you and your Advisor will monitor your progress to make sure you’re staying on track. She will check in from time to time, reviewing your situation and making any necessary adjustments to her recommendations.
How do you charge for your services?
Apogee Wealth Advisors is a fee-based financial services provider. “Fee-based” means that we can charge either fees or commissions for the work we do, based on the needs of each client we serve. Pricing varies according to complexity and volume of assets under management. Fees are typically discussed in the first appointment.
How is my account protected against fraud and theft?
As a part of our wealth planning services, Apogee Wealth Advisors directs the placement of customer investment assets, however, we do not actually custody, or hold, those investment dollars. Your assets are invested in one of two places – either at a clearing firm (National Financial Services or Fidelity) or directly with a fund company. Each of these entities insures client accounts against employee fraud or theft. In addition, Apogee Wealth Advisors and Cambridge Investment Research, Inc. carry similar insurance to protect customers against fraud or theft. Additionally, every account is protected by SIPC, which protects securities customers of its members up to $500,000 (including $250,000 for claims for cash) in the event of broker/dealer insolvency. An explanatory brochure of this coverage is available upon request or at www.sipc.org. As you know, none of these policies insure your account against market fluctuation or loss.
Every employee of Apogee Wealth Advisors and Cambridge Investment Research, Inc. who has access to customer funds has been fingerprinted and had a complete FBI background check, per industry regulations. Every time a change in your client data (for example: address, investment objective, occupation) is made, this change should be reported to your financial advisor for documentation. This change will generate a regulatory-required letter stating that the change has been made to your account. This helps protect you in two ways: in the event of unauthorized changes to your client account, you will receive written notice to alert you, and if a key-stroke error or typo has created an input error, you will also have the opportunity to correct your account. If no such changes occur, you will receive a letter every 3 years just to verify that the information on file is still accurate.
For more tips on avoiding investment-related fraud, go to the FINRA Investor Information Center.
How secure is my data on your financial planning software?
Our Wealth Management System employs the most advanced security features and protocols to keep your data safe, private and secure, 24/7/365. Comprehensive security protection measures include password protection, secure socket layer encryption, ﬁrewalls, intrusion detection, audits, inspections and more. You can be conﬁdent that your important information is safe and secure.
- Unlike online banking, trading or shopping websites, your money cannot be moved, withdrawn or accessed on our system.
- We house your important data with SunGard Data Systems, a revolutionary server hosting space offering the most secure environment in the industry. SunGard hosts 70% of all financial industry transactions.
- Physical access at SunGard’s world-class hosting server centers is limited to authorized personnel, and requires multiple levels of authentication, including fingerprint scanning. SunGard Data Systems also makes use of fire protection, electronic shielding, database backups and more to ensure your data is continuously monitored and protected.
- You have a unique User ID and Password. If three consecutive login attempts fail, the system automatically locks your account for 10 minutes, blocking any manual or programmed hacking attempts.
- Your User ID and Password will never be given out over the phone or sent to an email address that is not pre-registered with your account.
- Our system uses a 256-bit Secure Socket Layer to scramble your data to prevent access to unauthorized users. This is the highest level of encryption currently available today.
- Your data is so scrambled that trying to read it without authorization is like looking for a single grain of sand on miles of beach.
Certified hacker safe
- Our Wealth Management System uses third-party security auditors including McAfee, TraceSecurity, and WhiteHat Security to continuously try to hack into the system. Our firewalls have never been breached.
- Our Wealth Management System is Verisign certificated to be hacker safe. To receive this approval, the system is updated every 15 minutes with tests for newly discovered vulnerabilities and validated fixes from hundreds of sources worldwide.